Lotus brings F1 to the Philippines for the first time

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Lotus brought an F1 car to the Philippines for the first time last weekend, performing a demonstration run in the country’s capital Manila.

Marlon Stockinger performed hop laps and donuts in the team’s R30 car (which competed in F1 as a Renault) at the Mall of Asia in the city.

Stockinger, 22, was born in Manila and holds joint Filipino-Swiss nationality. He joined Lotus’s young driver program in February.

“To be here and to drive a Formula One car on the streets of Manila is definitely a historic moment,” said Stockinger. “It’s actually the first time ever that a Formula One car has been driven in the Philippines and it’s really cool to be able to bring it here.”

“I’d say honestly I’m quite speechless,” he added. “I never in my life would have expected to be able to drive a Formula One car here, only literally ten minutes down the road from where I grew up.”

“If I had said it to myself when I was a young boy that I’d be able to do that, I’m not sure I would ever have believed it, so to sum it up; it’s a dream come true.”

Lotus’s third driver Davide Valsecchi also joined in the event, driving the team’s two-seater car.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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